‘It’s like a big family:’ Longtime Community Players members reflect on 60 years

Carl and Bev Klarenbach speak at the Community Players 60th anniversary gala on Oct. 5, 2019. They were inducted as honorary lifetime members. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Two couples inducted as honorary lifetime members

Bev and Carl Klarenbach’s memories of the Prince Albert Community Players (PACP) date back to shortly after the theatre group developed.

Bev gave birth in 1959—the year the PACP started providing the city an opportunity to develop its skills in all realms of theatre—so she couldn’t exactly join at the time.

However, only a few years later, she started doing set design for the group. Soon after, her husband Carl was inspired to help with set design as well.

The bond the couple created with other members was so strong that they could only describe it as “a big family.”

Bev and Carl were one of two couples to be inducted as honorary lifetime members at the PACP’s 60th anniversary gala at Plaza 88 on Saturday night. The other pair inducted was Phyllis and Roger Williams.

Roger and Phyllis Williams step on stage as Prince Albert Community Players honorary lifetime member inductees on Oct. 5, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Phyllis and Roger have been involved with the group for about 40 years. They still attend all of the meetings and Christmas parties, with Roger even serving as vice-president.

The 82-year-old said undoubtedly his favourite memory was being the first play to perform in the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. He easily remembers the date: Mar. 20, 2003.

The first performances at the Rawlinson Centre were part of an event called seven plays in seven days.

Both Roger and Phyllis served food to the actors after their performances. Phyllis said keeping everyone’s stomachs full is her main role in the PACP.

Phyllis, who is 81 years old, explained how she felt celebrating the 60-year milestone.

“It’s awesome, and having enough people around that we can keep going, you know, and trying to get some of the younger ones involved,” she said.

Roger acted in three plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Pink Panther and a one act play called Voice of the People.

“I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve been able to offer scholarships to some of the high school drama students when they wanted to go on in some part of acting or theatre,” he emphasized.

They’ve been married for 58 years.

Bev and Carl, on the other hand, have been married for 63 years. Bev is 83 years old and Carl is 86 years old. They have 14 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

They said looking back, so many memorable moments come to mind.

But one of their favourites is when they were working behind the scenes at a festival for a Shakespeare play. They briefly closed the curtains while swapping the set for the next scene.

“We had the outside of the cottage and we turned the whole set around and it was the inside of the cottage,” explained Bev.

“The adjudicators said ‘How you guys changed that scene from one set to another, I would have loved to have seen that,’ he said. ‘You shouldn’t have closed the curtains.’ I bought some wheels, put them underneath,” added Carl.

“All we had to do was turn it and they didn’t realize how we did that.”

This is Gail Enright’s first year as president for the PACP.

“We’re so excited that we’re finally here at Plaza 88 and it’s beautiful. Delicate Petals has done a wonderful job of doing the decorations and everything is nice and sparkly. It’s for a 60th, our diamond anniversary, so we’re very pleased with all of the selections,” she said.

Prince Albert Community Players President Gail Enright speaks at the 60th anniversary gala on Oct. 5, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Enright said she was humbled to see people from other groups, such as Odyssey, Spark and SmokeScreen, coming together to celebrate.

“We are the oldest company in Prince Albert and so I think a lot of people maybe started with our group. Maybe some of them have branched off, some of them have stayed completely here,” she said.

“It’s really nice that we have such a great community that we can come together.”

The gala consisted of entertainment by Bryce Elliott and Flashback, catering by My Place and a draw for a diamond pendant from Bocian Jewellers. There was also a table with old newspaper articles and props from throughout the PACP’s past 60 years.

Canadian Tire Owner and philanthropist Malcom Jenkins was also inducted as an honorary member.